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On Odoh and LSU

5/11/2012

Andy Katz spoke with North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal and reported that North Texas has not released junior center John Odoh, who signed a letter of intent with Johnny Jones' North Texas staff in the early period.

There has been much speculation that Jones, now LSU's coach, might want to add Odoh to his LSU roster. But Jones denied recruiting Odoh in the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle, saying "We are not involved with any UNT players at all."

That could mean two things: 1. Jones can't recruit a player not released from his current letter of intent and is saying what is proper given the circumstance, or 2. Jones really isn't interested.

Either might be true. Let's break this down.

First, it seems Odoh, who played last year at Hill Junior College, won't play at North Texas. New coach Tony Benford, Jones' replacement, recently signed another junior college center, Keith Coleman. Unless there is roster attrition, there doesn't appear to be a place on the Eagles roster for Odoh. So he's likely on the way out.

LSU certainly has a need and an available scholarship for a 6-foot-10 shot-blocker like Odoh, who averaged an impressive 14 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game in the 2011-12 season. The Tigers have three scholarships to give and they have just two true big men on their roster, and the Nigerian big man can fill a need. In that way, it could make sense.

But in other ways, it might not be the best fit. With Shavon Coleman and junior college big man Calvin Godfrey coming to LSU, the Tigers will head into next season with five juniors on the roster - the two transfers along with returning players Andre Stringer, Ralston Turner and Jalen Courtney.

Adding another junior college player would give LSU a six-man junior class, meaning Jones and his staff would be a year away from having to replace nearly half of their scholarship roster (the NCAA limit is 13 scholarship players).

In that regard, it would seem to make more sense to pursue a freshman to join freshman recruits Malik Morgan and Shane Hammink. Or Jones might opt to hold on to the scholarship to pursue players in the 2013 class, one abundant in Louisiana talent.

Another factor is that Turner, LSU's second leading returning scorer, is pondering a transfer, which would leave the junior class a little less crowded.